Home August 2018 On Oil and Gas, Canada is Missing the Boat

On Oil and Gas, Canada is Missing the Boat

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Cody Battershill

A failure to attract oil and gas investment to Canada hurts all of us financially – and it puts the global environment at greater risk. So why do we stand by as Canada continues to miss the boat on world energy markets?

Think of it this way. Decision-making has become increasingly holistic as fragmented thinking and processes that result in division are more and more seen as old school. But you’d never know it by looking at Canadian energy policy. The result of that disconnect? Canada just isn’t making the grade.

This has to change.

Canada has to learn to balance sustainability leadership, at which we excel, with attracting investment, competing for job creation and prospering through a sharper focus on oil and gas development – all of which we’re not doing as well as we should.

A headline from a couple of months ago noted foreign direct investment in Canada had dropped to $31.4 billion in 2017, compared to $49.4 billion the year before. Where did it go? Largely to the U.S. Unless Canadians are content to be stewards of a giant nature reserve then we need to rethink our future. We need to sell ourselves.

Canada’s energy sector needs foreign investment, and the regulatory framework to attract it – especially in a world where global oil and gas demand is growing at a very fast pace.

Why do we allow non-Canadian supported special interests to influence our decision-making processes to ensure no tanker traffic moves off the B.C. coast, even though Alaskan and Washington state tanker traffic travels unimpeded through their respective territories?

Vancouver researcher and writer Vivian Krause has found numerous groups collaborating on a multifaceted campaign “to landlock” Alberta oil and prevent it from reaching global markets.

The amount these U.S. foundations have paid activist group Dogwood between 2008 and 2016 is more than $2.7 million. That goes toward campaigning against tankers off the coast, defeating Canadian elected officials who disagree with the anti-pipeline position and working to frustrate the Canadian public consultation process through letter writers and additional witnesses.

Yes, let’s build the Trans Mountain expansion. But let’s put policy in place that allows our oil and gas sector to prosper. Canada’s enviable health and social services, our country’s infrastructure and our quality of life all hang in the balance.

Cody Battershill is a Calgary Realtor and founder/spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer organization that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.

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